If you are like most people, you spend 8 hours or more sitting at a desk hunched over at your keyboard. Your shoulders are rounded, neck is stiff and lower back has been bugging you for the past few days.
As we continue to age we can develop bad movement patterns that cause stiff muscles, bad posture and imbalances in our body. This could be from our jobs that cause us to overstress specific muscles and not utilize others. Maybe even an injury from the past has put too much stress on the opposing muscles or facial system. Has your job been stressful lately? Do you ever stretch? The bottom line is we hurt and sitting on our butts all day is not helping.
Our body is entirely related and one tight area can cause problems in other areas. Have you ever had a headache and realized that your neck or upper back has been stiff all week? Try massaging that out next time and see if the headache goes away. Every part of your body is connected and dependent on each other. This is the Kinetic Chain. If one part of that chain is broken it will affect you somewhere else. It’s important that we start addressing some of the causes of the constant pain and nagging (and I don’t mean your boss).
Try some of these exercises to help release some of your daily pain.
In the article “Are your Muscles Sore” we discussed the importance of foam rolling and how using an inexpensive piece of foam can help release tension in the fascia and tight muscles that could be causing pain. It is important that you spend time working with a foam roller as it will reduce much pain from overworked muscles.
One of the most common injuries is an ankle sprain and if not rehabbed properly this little injury can cause you many problems. Even just wearing high heels can give you much grief. If your ankle is not mobile than you will have problems functioning properly. Knee problems anyone? Remember the kinetic chain. One way to test your ankle mobility is to face a wall in a lunge position, placing both hands on the wall and one foot about 6” from the wall. While keeping your heel down try to bring your knee to the wall. Perform five reps, and then do five reps outside the knee to the left of your foot and five reps to the right of your foot. Your knee should go past your toe to touch the wall and heel should not come off the ground. If you cannot do this, you do not have enough mobility in the ankle. If this is the case, try rolling the back of your calf just above your heel and massage this area thoroughly. I like using a Tiger Tail from Performbetter.com. After you do this try the test again and see if you gained mobility.
Lateral Band Walks
Once you have foam rolled it’s important that you start waking up some of those sleepy muscles. Your Glutes!, Yes, I mean your butt. You sit on it all day now it’s time it awakens from hibernation. At PerformBetter.com you can purchase a mini-band for about $2.00. You will put this mini band just above your knees and stand in an athletic position. Now start walking laterally with a slight bend in your knees and hips back. Take 10 steps to the right and then 10 steps to the left. Repeat for about 2 minutes and you will feel those buns burning.
Lying on the ground faceup with your hands to your side. Your knees should be bent and heels on the ground with your toes up. Lift your hips off the ground and squeeze your butt once your hips are in the air. Hold for 2 seconds. Lower to the starting position and repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
Lie on your stomach with your forearms on the ground and under your chest. Press up from your forearms lifting your hips off the ground. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
Lie faceup on the ground with your arms extended out to your side and knees bent 90 degrees like you are going to perform a situp. Twist your bent knees until they reach the floor, and then twist them back to the other side. Repeat for a total of 10 reps.
Stand with your back against a wall. Your heels and butt should be against the wall as well and your arms should be held in a 90 degree angle (picture a goal post in football). Slowly slide your arms up the wall over your head. Your elbows and hands should not come off the wall. If you feel discomfort, stop and repeat to the point of discomfort or if your arms or elbows come off the wall. Perform 10 reps.
Just a few of these exercises each day will help in so many ways but not enough keep your boss off your back. That’s a different set of exercises!
For more specifics on pain reduction and program design check out the ForwardFit semi-private or personal training classes.
Visit PerformBetter.com for foam rollers and mini-bands discussed in this article.